Basically, I wanted to run my mouth about the state of the team after 41 games and read what other people thought. So that's basically what this will be about.
There was some debate at the beginning of the season how this team would finish. The most pessimistic wondered whether they'd challenge the worst record in league history (it could still happen if they go winless in the second half); the more optimistic thought mid-30s in wins. Even Basketball Prospectus projected the Wolves at about 33 wins.
Personally, about 25-30 wins seemed right until Love broke his hand. Even then, 25 didn't seem out of the question. Now, 20-25 would provide some upward momentum (they'd have to go between 12-29 and 17-24 in the second half) but isn't much of an improvement on last year. With that said, though, I always thought they'd be at least as good as they were in 07-08, and that's definitely in reach.
- Increased pace: Complaints with Kahn and Rambis might be justified (I think it's too early to tell), but they both wanted a fast-paced team, and they're 3rd in pace. There are other problems that need to be resolved, but the team is playing a style on offense that they want to play.
- Um, that's about it. Here are some mini ones: Love's improved outside shot; Brewer's improved shooting and overall effectiveness; Jefferson's growing adaptability to the triangle; Wilkins' hoop IQ and effort.
Disappointments (based on expectations):
- Defense: they've shown good rotations at times, and their lack of athleticism hurts them more on that end, but they need to do a better job of challenging shooters
- Fortitude/Perseverance: a young team just can't roll over as many times as this team has this season, especially when increase effort and hustle would lead to easy hoops in that system; however, this might just be something that's fixed with a more veteran roster
- Other minis: Flynn's inconsistency on offense and bad defense; Ellington's cold shooting; Brewer's inconsistency from close range; inconsistent rotations from everybody; little of the Sessions-Flynn pairing; Ryan Hollins.
Some minor quibbles:
- Cut Pavlovic. Now. I understand that they signed him in case they needed a fourth wing, but I'd much rather get a guy from the D-League who can run the floor and provide some energy.
- Why haven't the beat writers asked about subbing out Jefferson and Love at the same time? Or have they and I missed it?
- Please move Tom Hanneman back to sideline reporter and get a play-by-play guy. It's sad that a franchise who has employed Kevin Harlan and Gus Johnson at different points is stuck with a guy who'd be great as a dad but can't measure up to "With no regard for human life!" I understand that he's not coming back, but there's gotta be a young guy who brings a similar thing (not Paul Allen, he's good with the Vikes but there's gotta be someone else)